The Owl Theremin – The Owlemin

The Owl Theremin

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am so excited. Today I can reveal that Uloo has commissioned a piece of modern art / nonsense which I will hope will make you all laugh / cry. WE HAVE BUILT A STUFFED OWL THEREMIM. WE HAVE! ITS AWESOME. WE DON’T REALLY KNOW WHY EITHER.

About 4 months ago, myself and my friend Clare (bass player from Chips from the Poor) were talking and decided that I should make something fun that ‘promoted’ Uloo but dO it differently. Clare suggested I speak to Dave at Nervous Squirrel. Dave is an engineer and makes a lot of amazing and strange things.

We chatted and decided a stuffed owl with with some kind of theremin would be perfect. We then both laughed a lot. Anyway, there will be videos and other fun things soon. Just look at the below. It looks amazing and there are more pictures and details here.

the owl theremin

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The Truth – Social Media is nonsense

This is , without doubt, 100% accurate.

The industry is full of nonsense – It really is. IT IS.

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When a client says ‘Social Media” what do they really mean?

It has nearly been 2 years since Uloo decided to walk the path lest trodden.

2 years thats over 300 days or 9000 Jupiter afternoons.

It has been an incredibly humbling and , at times, a hectic experience. During my time a few observations have surfaced and I thought I would do a top 20 of said observations.

I have no idea if I have 20 observations. (I am half way through and clearly don’t have 20)

1. When a client wants ‘social media’ consultancy – This is a cry for help for something far more serious – usually around product/crm or both.
2. Truth doesn’t exist in business. The politics and egos of the individual aways out-weigh the marketing or business need. Hence why if you work in a large business/corporation you get told to ‘play the game’ as opposed to ‘do the right thing’.
3. 99% of all client Facebook pages/feeds are boring.
4. 92% of most corporate Twitter feeds are boring
5. Orange & T Mobile merging and calling themselves ‘Everything Everywhere” is nonsense
6. Everything Everywhere is the worst name for a brand that will EVER exist
7. Strategy – 99% of CV’s in Western Europe have the word strategy on them.
8. 99% of people with the word ‘strategy’ on them are not fit to come up with a strategy.
9. Email is still better than anything else the Internet can offer.
10. At board level, there is still a huge amount of ignorance around the influence of technology of people’s behavior.
11. I left Facebook 18 months ago – I don’t miss at all
12. HungryHouse is an evil/awesome web experience (When tired)
13. Clients are still building apps with no idea why.
14. Clients like apps like a fat kid likes cake.
15. The ability to use data quickly and effectively within large organisations is still really poor.
16. Management seem to think having fun and being effective are counter-productive
17. 20 observations was a little ambitious
18. Organisations should learn to trust each other more and try new things quickly.
19. Flash is still being used to build websites
20. I still love the Internet

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Banksy & Egypt – A badly written and thought out blog post

I came across this today and ,I have to say, for someone who released a film through Paramount who , by default, protect their IP and advertise films heavily its a bit rich.

I tell you what Banksy can I have your film and do WHATEVER I want with it? I mean I saw adverts for your film everywhere. They annoyed me as I didn’t ask to see them.

The problem with advertising is that fact that most of it is just plain lies. Let me give you an example – on the Tube at the moment there are ads for Egypt. It actually says

Egypt – We are relaxed
Eygpt – We are friendly

Now I have been to Eygpt and it was VERY friendly and fun. However, I am pretty sure this is what most people think of when they think of Egypt at the moment.

THIS DOESNT LOOK VERY RELAXED DOES IT? Yet advertising is addicted to talking to us like idiots. Everything is fine in Egypt – Ignore the news – I am a poster – LISTEN TO MY ROAR.

My point is that the days of lying or selling an image are diminishing. Be honest, open and remember that posters are , generally pretty lame. So are dictators too. I know. POLITICAL.

Oh and Banksy your art should do the talking.

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Why do YouTube videos go viral?

This is all pretty obvious stuff. The amount of videos from brands trying to be popular with millon pound budgets is becoming saturated and pretty tiresome.

This talk by Kevin Allocca is funny and pretty much correct. The answer is no one knows.

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Gamification. – WHAT THE HELL IS IT?

Firstly, I have to say Gamification is a great word to say. It trips off the tongue and for that it must be congratulated. Well done Gamification I congratulate you. I have started saying it in the shower. Imperial Leather helps.

That’s kind of where the good news stops. Gamification according to Wikipedia
means ‘use of game design techniques[1] and mechanics to solve problems and
engage audiences’. I have to admit after many years of working on digital/
technology brands and platforms I have no idea what that actually means.

Lets see if we can make sense of it. ‘Using game design techniques to solve
problems and engage audiences’. So if brand X has issues with its audience and
building engagement it could use Gamification to use gaming techniques to get
their audience touching, discussing their product. Oh I see. Awesome.

So lets see if this works. I am a toothpaste brand. I cant seem to get anyone
talking about my brand. The marketing director is demanding a social media
strategy because it’s obviously what they need – there is no discussion. It’s

Marketing & PR types panic. They run to their agency.

‘Quick. We need to engage with our audience. Its our problem. We don’t know
what to do’.

The agency sits back. It strokes its beard and thinks. It stares; it reads a load of
blogs and community threads about new trends in media. It thinks again. Why
not? Agencies think a lot right?

They think…

Video. That’s been done. We have done the viral.

What about games? What about Gamification? People loves games.

Gamification is born.

They come up with a plan. Using gaming techniques they come up with a fantasy
RPG game where you are placed within the mouth of a giant and have to travel
from tooth to tooth to save the mouth from the evil Plaque demons.

Or perhaps a simple flash game where you get to clean as many teeth as you
can in a minute. Sorry that last example has made me feel very sad and alone. I

It’s an abstract example, but I think there needs to be an element of realism
to this – Gaming techniques is a very opaque term. Gaming platforms and franchises are now as big and as influential as Hollywood blockbusters – A brands job is to listen, understand what they want from you as a product and service. Building gaming techniques for the majority of brands sounds like a huge investment without any real sense of strategy.

If brands spent more time investing internally on the basics of digital publishing
– data, content & community they might get some interesting results.

Perhaps spending more time being open, transparent, ethical and supportive of
people may get you more long-term engagement.

I am off now to play Demon Plaque Monsters 2 brought to you by Colgate.

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What annoyed Uloo in 2011

Firstly this is not going to be one of those lists that get into New Media Age or Campaign.

In fact I am not sure if they still even do lists. Do they? Hope so.

It mostly just some thoughts around my work last year really plus I have spent an afternoon baby sitting and I am close to tears.

1. People say ‘I don’t know’ a lot more – Its funny that saying ‘I dont know’ should be quite an easy thing to say considering the state of media, advertising & technology. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to know what works without actually doing something to see whether it actually works. I guess this is about data. Track things properly and act accordingly. You will soon know.

2. More Speed & Less Meetings – I really hope that companies and agencies (I guess, I dont know) start acting a l0t more quickly to ideas, data & competitors. This is what social media really is about – speed and relevance. How quickly can you react to something converting badly on your site? Do you have lots of meetings to decide something? Really? Thats boring for everyone and inefficient – just do stuff and track it.

3. Develop One strategy – and Lots of Tactics – A social media strategy doesn’t really exist. It should be an extension of your businesses strategy. If I hear ‘whats your social media strategy?’ one more time I am likely to punch everyone. Think about it. Can you really develop a strategy for Facebook? REALLY? A strategy? REALLY? I worked online back in the 90′s. People used to have strategies for AOL. That worked out well.

4. TEll ME WHAT Gamification MEANS - In 2011, I was aksed to write a piece around Gamification for a respected online media publication. I sat at my desk and thought; I really had no idea what it meant – I mean there are some amazing examples around work on  the AIDS virus , for example, but how could this help say a toothpaste brand? It couldn’t. So I wrote a very tongue in cheek article which congratulated the word Gamification as it felt fun to say in the shower – it didn’t get published. Actually I could publish it on here. Let me know if you want me to do that. Its brilliant….ahem.

That will do for now. I mean I could talk about other things like..

1. People buying sambuca and my ability to say no.

2. My addiction to crisps.

3. My urge to leave Twitter which is an on going battle

Happy New Year!

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Amnesty TV Trailer

Hello there. A month ago (ish) Uloo announced that it was working with Amnesty International UK on the launch of a new online TV channel.

Above is the trailer for the first episode that launches on Friday 15th July. For more information go here

Over the coming months expect to awesome content from Google, Jimmy Wales, Cassette Boy, Modern Toss and whole heap of other ace stuff.

Its all very exciting.

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Amnesty TV Trailer


Uloo is pleased to announce that the Amnesty International UK is set to launch on Friday 15th July.

It has been a terrific 5/6 weeks getting this organised and we can’t wait to see the trailer live and to see and hear peoples reactions. is the web address.

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